Introduction: Current guidelines recommend native arteriovenous fistulas (AVF) as the vascular access of choice for hemodialysis on account of the lower incidence of complications. However, this kind of vascular access has a high rate of early failure (early thrombosis or non-maturation). Our aim was to examine whether clear risk factors for early AVF failure could be identified in our patients.
Subjects and methods: Data of all patients who underwent creation of an AVF at the Geneva University Hospital from January 1998 to December 2002 were reviewed. Early failure was defined as a non-functioning fistula (thrombosis or absence of fistula maturation).
Results: 119 patients underwent the creation of 148 native AVF, 88 (59.5%) in the forearm and 60 (40.5%) in the upper arm. 48 (32.4%) fistulae were created in diabetic patients. In a multiple logistic regression analysis, significant predictive factors of early failure were a distal location (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 8.21, 95% CI = 2.63-25.63, p < 0.001), female gender (aOR = 4.04, 95% CI = 1.44-11.30, p = 0.008), level of surgical expertise (aOR = 3.97, 95% CI = 1.39-11.32, p = 0.010) and diabetes mellitus (aOR = 3.19, 95% CI = 1.17-8.71, p = 0.024).
Conclusion: Early failure of AVF occurs mainly in forearm sites among women and diabetic patients. Surgical expertise has also a significant influence. These results suggest that selection of a distal site for a native AVF has to be rigorously made for women and diabetic patients and that surgeon's dedication is of primary importance to avoid early AVF failure occurrence.